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Raising Employee IQ

Ten ways to raise every employee’s innovation quotient

VentanaView™

Summary

Innovation performance management (IPM) is mostly discussed at the business level. But there are many ways to improve the innovation quotient (IQ) of individual employees and drive up the corporate IQ through innovation portals. Ventana Research recommends that companies serious about innovation portals and generating innovation from the bottom up consider these ten ways to raise employee IQ.

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People generate innovation, so bottom-up innovation generation depends on every employee being equipped to innovate in order to raise their innovation quotient. A corporate innovation portal helps to act as a focus for innovation efforts and benefits from offering personal content to better engage individual employees. Ventana Research suggests there are at least ten inexpensive ways to raise the IQ of every employee and consequently place responsibility on those employees to help raise the overall corporate IQ via an innovation portal.

1. Give everyone a white board on the basis they contribute a snapshot image of a "trophy" sketch from their whiteboard each month as content for the corporate innovation portal.

2. Provide everyone with a newsfeed on a single innovation topic that interests them on the basis that they feed one idea a month, however wacky, from this newsfeed into the corporate innovation portal.

3. Equip every laptop with an electronic notepad application (e.g. Microsoft OneNote or Agilix GoBinder for PCs and Circus Ponies Notebook for Mac) on the basis that they publish their notebook on the corporate innovation portal.

4. Equip every tablet PC with a visual thinking mind mapping tool (e.g. MindJet MindManager for PCs or NovaMind for Mac) on the basis that they publish a monthly mind map on the corporate innovation portal.

5. Set up a corporate innovation blog to which any employee can contribute that includes an RSS feed that any employee can subscribe to.

6. Build innovation think time into everyone's weekly schedule to allow some reflection on innovation topics on the basis that they publish a weekly reflection "sound bite" on the corporate innovation portal.

7. Build an innovation "jam" session into everyone's monthly schedule to allow some free association time to consider thinking around, rather than about, an innovation topic on the basis that they publish the session "soundtrack" on the corporate innovation portal.

8. Start an innovation book-reading club to discuss the latest thinking from an innovation subject matter expert. Better still, invite the expert in — not for a lecture, but for a conversation. Record the conversation for the corporate innovation portal.

9. Agree on an innovation metric with every employee to create a personal KPI to track on the corporate innovation portal.

10. Provide a personal corporate innovation portal page for every employee to collect their whiteboard snapshots, notebooks, mind maps, newsfeed ideas, blog entries, sound bites and soundtracks, and innovation metric KPI in one place and hold an annual award ceremony for the top ten most visited employee IP portal pages.

Assessment

Ventana Research believes corporate innovation portals are an important way to raise innovation visibility within an organization. But every portal needs the constant invigoration of new content and benefit from the personal touch to encourage employees to visit and participate. The ten ways to raise employee IQ listed above will not only help raise the innovation quotient of individuals but also raise the corporate IQ by energizing and fueling corporate innovation portals with innovative content.

Stewart McKie is European Analyst Director at Ventana Research.

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